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Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Message…

From the Diary of Dr J Watson:

The journey to Scarborough was a pleasant enough one and Holmes and I spent the most part of it in quiet contemplation. I read the first few chapters of the latest Stephanie Kingie gothic horror novel (‘Miserly’ – the tale of a Scrooge-like character who finds himself confined to a remote hovel with a deranged former nurse during a snowstorm), while my companion immersed himself in composing a monograph concerning the traditional rituals of Mongolian tribesmen within the wider cultural context of angoran sweaters.

The pony and trap that collected us from the station was driven by a rather dour chap by the name of Pierrepoint, who had the irritating habit of turning a beady eye on us every few minutes and commenting on my, or my companion’s, height, weight or likelihood of committing murder. After a tedious hour of winding through lanes and byways, he dropped us at the village pub in Snot-on-the-moor, where we’d arranged to meet Mr Rogers.

Holmes was quiet until we had ordered food and ensconced ourselves in a corner near the fireplace. Finally, he turned to me and observed:

“I suppose you know who is behind all this wicker malarkey, Watson?”

I made on I was considering this while fiddling with the crockery for our meal, but since I had not one solitary hint as to the answer, I eventually replied with my tried and trusted answer:

“Sorry, Holmes, not a clue.”

Holmes chuckled to himself as if he’d somehow got one over on me again (Which of course he had). “Moriarty, Watson.”

“Oh, Holmes, for God sake!” I cried. “Will you never let this go? The man is dead.”

My friend gave me a piercing look. “Or is he?” Pulling a piece of paper from his inside pocket, he unfolded the sheet and handed it to me.

“It’s a telegram, Holmes.”

“No, Watson, it is a cleverly constructed representation of a telegram, intended to have us believe that it was sent by Colonel Sebastian Moran.”

“But he’s dead too, isn’t he?” Said I, skimming the details of the message.

Holmes gave me a grim stare. “He should be, Watson – I killed him myself. But this so-called telegram suggests not.”

“It says here that you and I are invited to attend a murder.” But Holmes, what can it mean?”

“It means,” said my companion, his small eyes staring into the fire, “that we are in great danger.” He looked up and his expression changed to one of apparent delight. “Ah Mr Shag and Mr Scoob. How lovely to see you.”

Shaggy Rogers stood in front of us, grinning widely, whole his ridiculously large and stupid hound nuzzled its face into my crotch.

“Whoa, dudes, what’s goin’ on, man?” Shaggy shook both our hands vigorously, then his smile faded and in a low voice he said, “You guys are in great danger.”

Holmes gave me a sardonic smile. “I trust you thought to bring your revolver, Watson?”

I nodded. “No, but I’ve still got a bag full of Mrs Hudson’s crunchy pies.”

To be continued

Watson

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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Something Wicker This Way Comes…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Holmes,Wicker-Mannie-for-web
I’ve just had a rather disturbing communication from our old pal Norville (Shaggy) Rogers, who has got himself embroiled in another one of those Wicker Mannie situations. Apparently, he and that idiot hound of his are holed up in what he refers to as ‘The Old Woodward Place’ in the village of Snot-on-the-moor, near Scarborough, Yorkshire.

Shaggy claims that a group of ‘wickery fanatics’ are at this very moment constructing a gigantic effigy on the beach that bears a remarkable resemblance to your good self. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Holmes, and before you dismiss this as mere pagan nonsense, I urge you to recall the tormented death of poor old Eddy Woodward, for it is that very individual’s former residence that Mr Rogers is currently occupying. And as you are so fond of saying, Holmes, ‘there’s no such thing as a coincidence, Watson, and pass the biscuits.’

Call me a superstitious fool, but I think it would be only sensible that we investigate these curious events at our earliest convenience.

I shall make the necessary arrangements and call for you this evening. I trust you will be able to drag yourself away from whaever indulgent diversion you are engaged in. (It might also be prudent to pack a bag of Mrs Hudson’s crunchy pies to sustain us on the trip).

Yours
Watson

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Watson Vs ‘The Children’…

From the Diary of Doctor Watson

Monday
I’m happy to report that my host appeared to have returned to normal this morning, though his irritating habit of talking in rhyme was unaffected by his recent clock-bound ordeal. Zellaby munched toast while regaling me with the details of a telephonical message he took whilst I was still at my toilette.

“Lestrade, a message he did send
And called to say he can’t attend
So you will have to take the reigns
In things concerning child-er-ens.”

I have to admit my annoyance showed itself a little more than I intended when I replied thus:

“If you don’t stop this rhyming stock
I’ll shove you back inside that clock!”

Zellaby’s mouth took a downward turn. “Sorry.” He went on to explain (without poetic license) how Inspector Lestrade has been called away on a matter of some urgency – apparently Scotland Yard are having a bit of bother with the Krazy Twins and Lestrade is the only one the mad pair will negotiate with.

This was a bit of a blow, as I was banking on Lestrade’s help. However, needs must and I soon came up with a plan to lure the children to the schoolhouse on the pretext of seeing a moving picture. I could then lock them up until we can come up with a long-term solution.

Zellaby, however, shook his head. “I am afraid, Dr Watson, that will not be possible. You see, the Children won’t trust you. They will know what you’re thinking before you’ve got anywhere near them. Look what happened to Mr Holmes.”

“Then I shall resort to my trusty revolver and shoot the lot of them.” I helped myself to another slice of toast and a large dollop of quince jam.

My companion shook his head. “Again, they will see your plan and make you turn your feeble weapon on yourself.”

“Then what on earth are we to do?”

Zellaby left the room for a moment and returned a few minutes later carrying what looked like a small nuclear bomb.

“My God,” I gasped. “What on earth is that?”

“It’s a small nuclear bomb,” explained the old man. “Oh, don’t worry, it’s not terribly nuclear – only enough to blow the schoolhouse to smithereens.”

I threw my napkin on the table with as much disdain as I could muster. “Then I don’t see..”

Zellaby interrupted and explained that he had invented the bomb for just such an occasion and that since his recent brain operation (which included inserting a large metal tea plate in his head) his thoughts cannot be so easily picked up by the Children. “Therefore,” he continued, “I am the obvious choice to lure the demonic creatures to their fate.”

“But how will you escape?” I cried.

He shrugged. “I won’t.”

Tuesday
As I sit here in this very ordinary railway carriage, I cannot believe the events of the last 24 hours. Poor Zellaby did indeed lure the Children to the schoolhouse on the pretext of watching a moving picture called ‘The Last Temptation of Christopher Biggins’ and he also managed to detonate the bomb, killing everyone within a five mile radius.

Fortunately, I had managed to get Holmes out of the Asylum and into a small hotel in the next village before the balloon went up, and while it is a terrible shame that several hundred innocent people died, we are at least rid of those pesky kids.

Holmes is sleeping now, wrapped up in a blanket and snoring loudly. It’ll be nice to get back to Baker Street again.

Watson

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Sherlock Vs ‘The Children’…

From the Diary of Doctor Watson

Sunday
It has taken me some little time to come to terms with the bizarre episode I faced yesterday afternoon and I am only now able to put pen to paper and collect my thoughts in a cohesive manner.

My companion’s reaction to my visit yesterday gave me quite a start. His quip “Excuse me, do I know you?” was (thought I, in my stupidity) just another Holmsian joke, but no – it was in fact, merely the tip of the iceberg.

Holmes turned his head slightly as if talking to someone else. He went on to speak rapidly, recounting numerous antics and anecdotes. The fact that I stood there in the conservatory quite alone, did not seem to deter him and though I waved a hand at the empty space he continued to address, there was no change in his demeanour. I watched, dumbstruck, as his head swivelled between my own face and the void next to me, Holmes​ nodding occasionally and giving that sly wink in answer to (presumably) whatever communication he thought was emanating from our imaginary companion.

I studied him carefully over the next few minutes. He appeared to have succumbed to some strange trick of the mind, which convinced him that our old pal RLS was in the room with us and clearly holding a most interesting conversation. After some minutes, I retired to Matron’s office in the hope that what I was witnessing was not some feature of my own troubled imagination.

“Och Doctor Watson,” gushed the large lady, giving me a playful dig in the ribs. “We’ve heard soooo much about you from dear Mister Holmes. But you’re much smaller in real life.” She guffawed loudly and I detected a quick glance in the direction of my nether regions. Then her face changed as she recounted the dreadful incident when my companion was brought into the asylum (yes, dear reader, I too was shocked to learn that the building we were presently occupying was not the village hospital but the local Insane Asylum!!!) It seems that Holmes was having some sort of continual hallucination that also included whatever was going on in the real world (which explains why he could see me as well as Bobby Stevenson).

Matron leaned forward conspiratorially. “I believe those vile creatures have done something to your friend, Doctor, but how long it will last we cannot say.” She then went on to tell me how another villager had been forced by the Children to drive his car into the duck pond, and yet another appeared to believe he had turned into a mole and had spent a whole day digging holes all over the village green.

I left Holmes writing out a series of letters (to me, I believe) detailing his ideas on ‘the Problem of Thor Bridge and how the new Science of Mesmerism will sort things out…’ At least my companion could come to no further harm in the Asylum. As I left the building, I pondered on the problem ahead of me – if Zellaby was aware of these bizarre goings-on, he had neglected to mention them to me, but given his own clock-fixated behaviour, that’s hardly surprising.

I decided the only way to tackle the problem was to tackle the creatures themselves – The Children.

Last night I telephoned Inspector Lestrade. Since it seemed I have no option but to take over the case myself, I decided I had better get some help.

(to be continued).
Watson.​

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Behind the Scenes at the Asylum…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Doctor Watson:

Watson – you know I am not one for effusive praise, but I have to congratulate you on the quick thinking and modicum of initiative demonstrated in your recent actions. When you realized the jolt from the capsized vehicle had resulted in Memory Absence, your decision to bring our old friend and trusted confidante RLS to the Convalescent Home was nothing short of a Light-bulb Moment; despite your having to use some effort to distract him initially from “conducting research” for his latest novella, as he likes to call the wretched scribblings.

When you finally managed to drag him away from some gruesome treatment or other and focused him on my predicament, it worked like a Charm –  how such an airy-fairy, wool-gathering nincompoop can be so gifted in the new Science of Mesmerism escapes being pinned down by the Rational Process, but however he does it, the results speak for themselves. I was instantly jolted back to my Old Self, with the recent events seared in to my brain as though by some burning device – the Remembrance of Times Just Passed caused my synapses to spark off each other like Dr Frankenstein’s Resuscitation Machine, only with less ghastly consequences.

I will Begin…..

H

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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